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‘Othello’ to open Friday at Park Square Theatre

I’ve always thought it should have been titled “Iago” in recognition of its most fascinating character, but nobody asked me. In any case, Park Square Theatre opens its all-star production of the familiar Shakespeare tragedy this weekend. That’s “Othello,” of course.

The cast is littered with names familiar to local theater-goers — starting with James A. Williams in the title role and Stacia Rice as the doomed Desdemona. Steve Hendrickson gets the delicious role of Iago.

If you go to theater in the Twin Cities, you recognize those names. Williams was dubbed “Artist of the Year” in 2008 by the Star Tribune, though he also appeared in August Wilson’s “Radio Golf” on Broadway and in a production at Yale. Rice, who seems to spend most of her time on stages everywhere, also is a founder of Torch Theater. And Hendrickson is very well known to patrons of Park Square and other local theaters.

But there’s more: Bruce Bohne (“Fargo” and a million stage shows), James Cada (ditto), Craig Johnson (no “Fargo,” but ditto), Mo Perry, Virginia Burke and Edwin Stout, to name a few. Yikes, it’s a big cast. Take a look at their mug shots.

Directed by Richard Cook, the theater’s artistic director, the production reportedly is using a shortened cutting by Michael Bigelow Dixon done originally for Actors Theatre of Louisville. It comes in at 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Coincidently, Park Square’s production is opening simultaneously with the first public performance of “Othello” by Ten Thousand Things Theater, the company that performs in homeless shelters and prisons as well as for the paying public. Anybody familiar with these two theaters knows their versions will be drastically different.

Park Square’s version, now running in previews, opens Friday, Oct. 23, and runs through Nov. 8. For all the information you need, go here.

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